Call Our Division of Labour Old-Fashioned, I Call it Practical

At a party the other night, a man asked me, “Does your husband know how lucky he is?”

Minutes later, a woman—quite possibly the man’s wife—asked, “How do you put up with doing everything at home?”

Evidently, I am a modern day conundrum: the envy or the scorn of people I meet.

My husband and I have what might be considered a throwback arrangement. In broad strokes, he makes the money, and I take care of everything else.

Now think of any of those cliché comments you’ve heard about arrangements like ours, and guaranteed, I’ve heard them too. “What do you do all day?” “Must be nice to stay at home.” “How do you afford that?” And, of course, “I don’t know how you do it.” In my case, this last one isn’t offered in a tone suggesting, Wow, you must be so pulled together and organized (I am not.) More like, Wow, the suffragette movement was wasted on you.

Read the rest of my take on the division of labour at our house here.

How I Got Acquainted With A Real Writer

Is it an occupational hazard that as a woman who writes, I have a hard time calling myself a writer? My essay about struggling with imposter syndrome and meeting my “real writer” friend is at Brevity. Read it here.

Why It’s So Hard To Let My Kids Fail


via Role Reboot

The advice is clear. If we want to raise resourceful and successful children, we need to give them opportunities to fail and learn from those failures. We can’t save them from every obstacle or hardship they encounter. I get it. Still, I find myself — an educated, responsible adult who reads smart books like Lahey’s — wondering, Why can’t I follow through?

Have I Disappeared Since Becoming a Mom?

Have you ever felt you’re becoming invisible as you get older?  My take on it, in On Parenting at The Washington Post.

I have hit rock bottom.

A few days ago, I was walking downtown.  A man walked toward me, his face stubbled, his soiled hands clutching plastic shopping bags.  An oversized jacket hung loose and undone from his thin frame.  As we passed each other, a low voice spoke out. “Nice legs mommy.”

I know a modern woman raised on feminist principles should oppose, even abhor, such behavior.  Yet, as I walked by, I felt a bit lighter. Dare I say a smile crept across my face. Read more here

An Open Letter to The Guy Who Discovered the 10,000 Hour Rule



For anyone who has ever felt that driving our kids to achieve “mastery” is driving us all crazy, here is my open letter on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

Dear Mr. Psychologist/Scientist guy,

I only have a minute. Do you know why? Because the other ten thousand hours of my life are tied up schlepping my kids between elite hockey tournaments and Suzuki recitals. Which brings me to my point.

Remember that crap you made up about needing 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” to master a skill? You know, your big discovery that was co-opted by Malcolm Gladwell. (By the way, sorry about that. Maybe you should have put a few thousand hours into trademarking your work.) Anyway, I’m sure it’s true, but it’s made life hell for me and every other parent I know.  Read more here.

Right on Time

Not long ago, I overheard my husband and son discussing my son’s request for a watch.

“Daddy,” he said. “I’m getting bigger now. I’m ten years old! I think it’s time I had a watch.”

Of course the eventual promise of a timepiece is not the end of the story, it’s merely the beginning–at least for me. Because my son then announced, “Hey, maybe this can be Mommy’s next article.  About me wanting a watch.”

Shortly before the watch incident, I had experienced a momentous occasion in my life: my publishing debut. An essay I wrote appeared in a national paper.

Before that, I had been thinking about “being a writer” for some time. I worked in Development at a major University, where I wrote a lot. Of course, grant proposals and requests for funding don’t often make the Pulitzer shortlist, so I never considered myself a “real writer.” The newspaper submission was my first attempt to write something people might actually want to read.    Read more at Literary Mama